Home alone the other night … so I mixed up some Pisco sours & put on Miles Davis ‘Kind of Blue’.. I somehow forget between sessions how much i love this album … Damn I can’t think of a better piece of music. Saw Miles at the Blackhawk in S.F. a long time ago (jesus, more than 50 years ago … ). In my mind, I remember it like it was … at least last week.
Kind of Blue is regarded by many critics as jazz’s greatest record, Davis’s masterpiece, and one of the best albums of all time. Its influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical genres, has led writers to also deem it one of the most influential albums ever recorded. The album was one of fifty recordings chosen in 2002 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, and in 2003 it was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Kind of Blue was recorded on March 2 and April 22, 1959, at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City, and released later that year on August 17 by Columbia Records. The album featured Davis’s ensemble sextet, consisting of pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley,
San Francisco Jazz Landmark Recognized
Though it closed its doors in 1963, a half-dozen classic recordings made at San Francisco’s Blackhawk nightclub have ensured a secure, lasting renown for the club in jazz lore. Along with other, long-gone clubs such as New York’s Royal Roost, Chicago’s Blue Note, and Philly’s Showboat and Peps’, the Blackhawk enjoys a mythic status as a club where all of the great post-war small groups played; Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Ahmad Jamal, Billie Holiday… if they played San Francisco, they played at the Blackhawk. Last month a bronze plaque was set into the sidewalk on the corner of Turk and Hyde in the Tenderloin to mark the spot where the Blackhawk once stood. Previously, the intersection’s northeast corner offered no hint of the jazz significance of the site serving only as a parking lot and hang out spot for the homeless and wanderers. Now, thanks to the dedicated work of the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District, the corner has been marked as a pilgrimage site for jazz fans. On my recent visit, it was difficult to image the club or the night Miles and Hank Mobley burned through “Oleo” there fifty years ago–I was too busy deflecting appeals for pocket change and offers of “buds”–but it was nice to associate a physical location in the city with what I have read and heard about the club. While the Tenderloin has experienced gentrification in recent years, it seems unlikely that tourists will serendipitously discover the corner’s new plaque on their own; the site of the old Blackhawk rewards the more deliberate and devoted visitor.